Air India has announced a new nonstop route from Birmingham airport to the northwestern Indian city of Amritsar.

The exact launch date has yet to be confirmed, but the carrier said that it was planning to commence service in early 2018, “recognising the consumer demand from the Midlands’ region to Amritsar”.

Air India has carried almost 500,000 passengers on its Birmingham-Delhi route since it was launched in August 2013.

The route will be operated by a two-class B787-8 Dreamliner, configured for 18 business class and 238 economy seats, and will be the only nonstop service from the UK to Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple.

Commenting on the news Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“One of the most common issues raised when I talk to the Sikh community in our region is that they and their families are unable to fly direct to Amritsar.

“Ever since, we’ve been working with Air India and Birmingham Airport to explore whether we could introduce this direct service for the 135,000 Sikhs living in the West Midlands.

“I am delighted this will start early next year – I know it will be well received news and a well-used service.”

Nordic carrier Primera Air recently announced plans to launch transatlantic routes from Birmingham to New York and Boston next year.